Septic Tank Pros And Cons: 5 Benefits & 4 Challenges

Here are the pros and cons of a septic tank to decide if you should buy a house fitted with one.

If your home isn’t connected to the local sewer lines, you could make your own private provision. This has to do with the installation of a septic tank.

However, a lot of questions arise as to the benefits or otherwise associated with septic tank installation.

Pros and Cons Of Septic Tank Systems

Here, we’re simply referring to the pros and cons of installing a septic tank. So, are you faced with a difficult situation about what action(s) to take? The information here should prove helpful.

Before we hit the nail in the head, it will be necessary to first explain what a septic tank is.

We’ll also be looking at how it works. That way, you’re able to make informed choices about what option best fits your needs.

Without further ado, let’s begin our discussion.

What’s A Septic Tank?

This question may seem too obvious for some readers, but very revealing for others.

A septic tank is usually large and designed for wastewater processing. These are mostly buried around homes and connected to a major drain pipe that collects or channels waste into the tank.

This main pipe connects to the toilet as well to sinks and showers. When such wastes collect in the septic tank, they are separated into 3 main phases; scum, effluent, and sludge phases.

Apart from the inlet pipe connecting to the tank, there’s also an outlet pipe that leads to the drain field.

Septic tanks are made of different materials. These include steel, fiberglass, plastic, and concrete septic tanks. You get to choose your preferred option from the multiple types available.

How it Works

To determine the pros and cons of a septic tank, it’s necessary to understand how it works.

As earlier stated, these tanks receive waste or organic matter from homes via pipes. Such organic matter consists of wastewater and fecal matter.

When these end up in the tank, the breakdown process commences. For aerobic septic systems, air will need to be pumped into the tank to introduce aerobic bacteria. That is bacteria that act on or digest the waste in the presence of oxygen.

Aeration won’t be necessary for anaerobic septic systems. When waste ends up in the tank, it gradually separates into the three phases mentioned earlier (scum, effluent, and sludge). Scum mostly consists of fats, oils, hair, and soap scum, etc.

The effluent phase is much heavier than the scum phase which is why it’s found after it. Effluent mostly consists of semi-clear or partially clear water. This is rich in nitrates and also contains bacteria.

The third phase is the sludge layer found at the bottom of the tank. This is the heaviest of all the other phases and contains solids including sand, food particles, and bones among other things.

This is acted on by bacteria with liquid and gases as end products.

Having provided enough background information, you should have a better idea of what best serves your needs. In other words, being able to weigh the pros and cons enables you to determine whether you need one or not.

1. The Advantages of Septic Tanks

When it comes to the advantages of a septic system, there are quite a number of them. These include being economical, environmentally friendly, durable; require low maintenance and onsite water treatment.

Septic Tank Benefits

 

  • Economical

Septic tank systems are much more cost-effective to operate than sewer lines. You won’t have to be paying for public utility (water) as you would for a sewer system.

  • Environmentally Friendly

Unlike sewer lines, septic tank systems have a much-limited scope and serve a lesser number of households. Unlike sewer lines that sometimes contaminate groundwater through major leaks, septic tank systems are much safer.

  • Durable

If you recently installed a new septic tank, it’s likely to remain functional for as much as 4 decades! This is a significant time and justifies your investment. As a matter of fact, this is as much time as most people spend living in a home until they move out or sell it.

  • Low Maintenance Requirements

The best part about septic tank usage is the low maintenance requirements it has. It takes as long as 3 to 5 years to have your septic tank pumped.

In between times, you could have it checked or inspected to ensure it’s in perfect working condition.

  • Onsite Water Treatment

An outlet or drainage line runs from the septic tank to the drain field. This is where the effluent is filtered out. The drain field is specially prepared to ensure that treated effluent or wastewater is properly filtered out.

When it finally rejoins groundwater, it doesn’t contaminate it.

2. Disadvantages of Septic Tanks

We’ve just discussed the several advantages of a septic tank system. However, it’s important to note that there’s a flip side. In other words, there are associated drawbacks attached to septic tank use.

These include antibiotics disposal, water tables, tree roots, mound systems, and disposal limitations.

  • Antibiotics Disposal

Unlike sewer systems where lots of items such as drugs are disposed of, the same does not apply to a septic tank system. You’ll need to be extra cautious not to include flush down drugs such as antibiotics down the drain.

These drugs could end up affecting the balance or ecosystem of your septic tank. This harms bacteria acting on waste.

  • Water Table

A high water table isn’t good for a septic tank system. This is because the drain field needs an area with a low water table to allow for proper effluent filtration. Anything less than ideal conditions will only result in backups and contamination of the water body.

  • Tree Roots

Tree roots are known to interfere with the normal functioning of septic tanks. These either displace tanks or create cracks. This situation creates a whole lot of issues such as backups and leakages etc.

  • Disposal Limitations

Unlike sewer systems, you’re largely limited to things you can dispose of in your septic tank. Items such as sanitary wipes and tampons will cause problems when disposed of in septic tank systems.

These are basically common pros and cons associated with septic tank system use. You’re left to decide whether these are acceptable or not.

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